Jiu jitsu is a sport, but it is also a method of self-defense. For those just starting their journey, it can be an exciting time of learning that a compact body without a lot of physical fitness can still perform well. Those willing to continue and learn more will often find that strength training and conditioning will add to their abilities. If you are considering getting into competition, it would be best to seriously consider the advantages of working out.
Every jiu jitsu move utilizes several muscle groups in the body, and all of these moves require at least a minimum level of fitness. Strength training is essential to be able to complete moves when dealing with a heavier opponent. Stamina over the length of the match or attack will come from conditioning, so that too is important. Conditioning and strength training combined with continued practice will help increase the necessary speed needed to achieve success.
Learning and practicing sports for pleasure or competition can lead to injury, so strength training is a facet that should always be considered important. For this sport or even when taking adult martial arts classes, we recommend it. There are three main areas of concentration, and they can be practiced by beginners and even those at the height of their competition careers.
Strength in the upper body is an important factor when throwing an opponent. It requires the muscles of the shoulders, the back and the chest to all work together. Simple strengthening exercises can begin with push-ups and pull-ups. They work all those critical areas, and pull-ups will even help with gripping an opponent’s clothing during a match or attack.
There are many throws that will require lower body muscles to have their own workout, so the gluts, the quads and even the hamstrings should be given their share of training. Jumps and squats can be the first exercises for beginning adults, or they can be helpful for children joining our karate classes for kids. Advancement in this area of strength can include working out with weights, and we recommend it for competitors at all levels.
The middle of the body or core should not be ignored. It is an important part of jiu jitsu throws, and it helps with coordinated throws that combine the use of arms and legs. Sit ups can help with the abs, and exercises that help rotate the torso and hips are also part of training. Kettlebell swings should be part of a workout by those in competition.
Conditioning the Body
Running out of steam during a match or an attack can lead to disaster, so conditioning the body is necessary for those at all levels. Many times people forget that even the simple mechanics of breathing while in a tight situation can make a big difference. There are many ways to get the body conditioned for the demands necessary to practice, use and compete in jiu jitsu.
Interval training was originally designed to help people get the most out of a short time exercising, but it seems almost perfectly designed for jiu jitsu conditioning. The short bursts of intense activity followed by resting or lesser exercise are a good way for beginners and elite to get the most out of their time in this area. Circuit training often provides the best way to fulfill this critical need, and it can often be found by searching the term martial arts near me. Look for a club that offers a wide variety of exercise equipment, and it should offer some interval training. We want your body to be able to last through whatever is necessary, so you should look into adding in the time for this part of the training.
If you have just begun thinking about learning the sport of jiu jitsu, the first few classes might feel like you are moving in slow motion. There is nothing wrong with that at first, but building speed throughout classes is essential for anyone wishing to progress. Jiu jitsu is about fighting off a larger opponent, and speed is one factor that a person of any size can master with practice, conditioning and strength training.
Practice in any sport or physical activity will lead to easier movements, and it will help you do them faster as the body retains the moves in muscle memory. Part of what will assist with getting faster is the body’s ability to handle the load necessary, so that is why strength training is important. Conditioning is also critical because the body will need energy and the ability to breathe to successfully continue to move faster as the demands on it peak in competition or a real life situation.
At Granite Bay, we want you to get the most out of your lessons with us. Whether you are just starting out, or if you are working to compete, we want you to learn and practice in safety. Getting fit with strength training, conditioning and building up speed at a reasonable pace are part of what makes jiu jitsu fun and interesting. Competition is often the goal, but even just enjoying the knowledge of self-defense can be a great way to safely learn.